The Minister of Tourism Haris Theocharis will be in the Russian capital of Moscow next week.
What will the negotiations with the Russians include?
The gradual increase and abolition of the limit on the number of Russian tourists entering Greece is expected to be on the table in the discussions between Theocharis and the Russian officials in charge of tourism.
This is because, according to sources in the Ministry of Tourism, “Greece gives a vote of confidence in tourism from Russia” and expecting to win those who lost last year.
The people involved in incoming tourism from Russia have made it clear to Theocharis that tourism can not be done with a limit on the number of incoming passengers, something that the leadership of the Ministry of Tourism itself understands.
Among other things, meetings with travel agents and government officials in charge of tourism are expected to be included in the minister’s program in the Russian capital.
In these contacts, the conditions for the entry of Russian tourists to Greece will be finalised.
Then, through the Russian media, the Minister of Tourism will present the opening of Greece’s tourism on May 14.
Theocharis’ staff estimates that it is too early to talk about a bilateral agreement with Russia, but they will do everything in their power so that they have a positive season and reaches the levels of 2019 in terms of Russian tourists.
And while Russian interest in Greece remains generally high, as has been made clear by those in the tourism industry that spoke to Sputnik Hellas in the past, developments with the pandemic in Greece seem to be troubling Russians.
This was shown by a poll on the Russian website Tourdom, according to which 35% of respondents would not like to make a prediction about their ability to vacation in Greece this summer.
At the same time, 33% believe that Russian tourists should not dream of Europe this summer, including Greece.
13% express the hope for a visit to Greece in autumn.
In addition, only 17% of respondents are of the opinion that Greece will not miss the start of the tourist season.
Since March 21, restrictions on Russians in Greece changed from 500 people per week to 4,000.
This measure was extended until April 19, with the arrival exclusively by air and through three entrance gates – the airports of Athens, Thessaloniki and Heraklion.
Upon arrival, Russians must submit a negative PCR test at least 72 hours before arrival in Greece.
“The aim is to lift the restrictions on May 14 or a little earlier, including the number of people and gates,” explained Dimitris Charitidis, director of Tez Tour Greece.
“After Turkey, where we are expected to see what will happen with COVID-19, Greece and Cyprus will claim the share of the Russian market, as the rest of Europe is not expected to open for Russia,” he said.
“The minister’s trip to Moscow will provide clear explanations,” Charitidis continued.
At the same time, he stressed that the Belarusian market should be opened in the same way, as Belarusians also prefer Greece.